§ 30. Mr. Hastings
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the outcome of the meetings he held recently with the Football Association, the railway police and the regular police about hooliganism on football special trains.
§ 35. Sir B. Janner
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in view of the continuing acts of hooliganism before, at and after football matches, he will make a further statement on the steps he is taking to deal with this position.
§ Mr. Merlyn Rees
The standing arrangements for the exchange of information between police forces about football hooligans on trains have been strengthened; a code of practice designed to encourage good behaviour by supporters is to be circulated by the Football Association to all League clubs; and there is under consideration a scheme to enable stewards, nominated by the League clubs concerned, to travel on football trains as part of the plan to 595 prevent disorder. Details are being worked out.
§ Mr. Hastings
While those who have suffered from this menace will be glad of those measures as far as they go, may I ask the hon. Gentleman to answer three specific questions? First, has he discussed with his right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport the adequacy of railway police guards on these trains? Second, what progress has been made in improving the radio links between the railway police on the trains and the regular police along the route? Finally, how many clubs have so far agreed to contract with British Railways for complete trains for which they will be liable? Has the hon. Gentleman made any progress on these points?
§ Mr. Rees
Concerning the radio links, there is a technical problem between the trains and the normal police, but from the discussions which have taken place I am satisfied about the contact between the two. We have had discussions with British Railways concerning the number of railway police but I hope that the hon. Member will take into account that with the number of trains on a Saturday it is not easy to cope with every possibility that might arise. The question of clubs undertaking liability for trains is one of the points about the code of behaviour to which I referred in my original Answer.
§ Mr. Rees
There is a particular problem at the football fields as opposed w outside them; there is a distinction between the two. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has made it plain to chief constables in different parts of the country that he is very concerned with the problem of hooliganism and I assure the House that chief constables in all parts of the country are taking steps to liaise with the football clubs to stamp out these happenings which are taking place every Saturday.